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DVD Review: Mother's Day

Joining the holiday horror genre, falling somewhere between the absurdity of killer Leprechauns and turkeys, and deranged murderers who kill only on Christmas or Valentine’s, comes Mother’s Day,  a bloody and suspenseful attempt at psychological horror that hits and misses.

An unlikely convergence of two parties creates chaos inside a fortified house while a storm nears outside, as a group of friends finds themselves invaded by three gun-toting maniacs. The three invaders happen to be brothers, seeking haven in what used to be their mother’s house, and taking hostages in the process.

Mother soon arrives to save the day, or rather reprimand her irresponsible boys, plan an escape, and seek her retribution for who knows what against just the closest bystanders. Those include two young attractive home-owners and their six guests, offering plenty of opportunity for torture, assault, and death.

Some hostages are attacked and questioned, the young attractive doctor of the bunch (Shawn Ashmore) tends to a wounded brother, and yet another is taken away to fetch money. Amid all these quick developments, though, the movie still slowly inches along and often escapes it’s contained world in a genuine effort to be ambitious.

The film tries mighty hard to develop characters and makes you care far more than other bloody horrors, a refreshing endeavor, but one that often just doesn’t seem to fit. Many characters inhabit the film, perhaps too many, between the eight hostages, five Koffin family members (mother, sister, and three boys), and more than a couple innocent, or not so innocent bystanders. Rebecca De Mornay is the crazed yet calm matriarch, a sneering woman with an icy stare, who at every moment seems on the verge of erupting in a surge of violence and insanity.

The novelty of the film is its downfall. Something may or may not be developing between our doctor hero Ashmore and Mother’s daughter, while the hostages—friends and lovers—comfort and confront one another. It makes for interesting developments, but one that last just a bit too long. The ensemble cast, multiple settings, and various back-stories make the movie

Eventually, talk turns into action, and the more compelling part of the film begins.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman brings his experience from several Saw movies in the form of gratuitous blood, torture, shocks and many deaths, and many more cringe-worthy moments. The body count piles up in the second half of the film, and it builds to a biting conclusion, most of which is worth the wait in this interesting and psychological addition to 21st century horror.

[star v=3]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.